Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The NBC Commentators Who They STILL Haven't Gotten Rid Of

Above: Just because the three commentators of NBC are less than lovely doesn't mean you have to sacrifice watching the gymnastics competition at the Olympics altogether. This post is to beware readers of what to expect from the trio of Tim, Elfi, and Al at these summer's Olympic Games.

If you live in the United States and are interested in following artistic gymnastics in the lead up and during the competition at this summer's Olympic Games, you will have to deal with what I have dubbed the Anything but Fab 3 trio of Tim Daggett, Elfi Schlegel, and Al Trautwig. I have never been a fan of any of these commentators and things are unlikely to be different any summer. NBC doesn't bother explaining viewers actual technique and explanation of skills in the routines; instead pouring out all the drama in their exceptionally biased commentary. At least they have the decency to shut up during floor exercise, and with all the blabbing that the Anything but Fab 3 does I will never understand why they don't say a word on this event. However, the Anything but Fab 3 shouldn't be as awful as to warrant viewers to mute their TV, but do look out for biased and inacurrate commentary. This post is not meaning to be a compilation of my disliking for the Anything but Fab 3, it is merely intended for those who may have not heard these commentators before to be intelligent and informed as to what to believe, and not to believe, about the commentators' thoughts of the artistic gymnastics competition as this summer's Olympics.

Tim Daggett

Career Highlights: 1984 Olympic team gold medalist, 1984 Olympic pommel horse bronze medalist

Pros: Tim Daggett is articulate and intelligent with his commentary and is very knowledgeable as to why skills go wrong. Daggett avoids going all out with the political drama surrounding events, yet does make valid points about when a routine is overscored or underscored.

Cons: Daggett is a relatively biased commentator towards the Americans and seldom goes into detail regarding the names of skills and poor form. Daggett has a very fast-paced commentary and is sometimes too quick to assume things, thus spoiling the competition in the event. He sometimes (what sounds like anyway) grunts to emphasize the difficulty of a skill, a perfect example being Alicia Sacramone's handspring laidout Rudi vault.

Outlook: Tim Daggett is the best gymnastics commentator NBC currently has, but that doesn't say much. Daggett has intelligent commentary but his biased remarks are often false. Beware of remarks such as the "USA women are easily the best in the world" or that "Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin will be the top two in the all-around." Daggett has quite a bit of knowledge about the USA team, but his knowledge regarding other world powers is sizably lacking.

Elfi Schlegel

Career Highlights: 1978 Commonwealth Games gold medalist, 198o Pan American Games gold medalist

Pros: Elfi Schlegel is a very blunt commentator who is unafraid of bashing gymnasts she doesn't care for. She is a big promoter of drama in gymnastics meets and is very confident in her commentary.

Cons: Schlegel defines the word biased by giving extremely generous commentary to the Americans and Canadians while being far tougher on the European nations. Elfi is quick to point out things that she doesn't like and sometimes goes overboard with her predictions of events . For example, Schlegel declared that it wasn't even a question that the USA team in 2004 was going to win gold, but the real question was by how much they would win by. In the end, Romania defeated USA for the gold and not surprisingly, Elfi didn't give any acknowledgment for her overly false and biased remark.

Outlook: You either love Elfi or you hate her, though it's safe to say most hate her. There is even a blog entitled Why I Don't Like Elfi Schlegel, and while the blog has nothing to do with Elfi it is the best blog title one could ask for. Elfi's biased commentary should get worse as the Olympics approach, and will no doubt be making early, and probably inaccurate, predictions for the U.S. to mostly win everything on the women's side. Beware of awkward, blunt, and inaccurate remarks from this commentator.

Fun Fact: At the 2003 Worlds-team finals Elfi made a shocking remark to Alexandra Chevtchenko (Russia), saying she didn't expect her to make the team because of her severe lack of talent. Subsequently, Chevtchenko nailed her opening piked full-in. However, Chevtchenko followed up with two scary falls and for once, I would have to say that Elfi was right to call such a blunt remark.

Al Trautwig

The Gymnastics Commentator who knows NOTHING about Gymnastics

Pros: N/A

Cons: Al Trautwig pretends to be an expert on gymnastics when he is hardly even a semi-casual viewer. He frequently alludes to baseball with gymnastics, when gymnastics diehards such as myself don't give a damn about baseball and want our limited gymnastics TV coverage to be about GYMNASTICS ONLY. Al is incredibly biased, even among U.S. gymnasts. At last year's Nationals Al, and really the entire Anything but Fab 3, were basically saying how Shawn Johnson is the best gymnast ever and how Nastia Liukin is so old and washed up.

Outlook: Al occasionally makes a valid, or humorous remark, but try your best to tune out everything he says this summer. His commentary is biased nonsense and probably hasn't even heard any of the international contenders at these Olympics. On the bright side Trautwig generally pronounces gymnasts' names accurately.

Fun Fact: Nastia Liukin commented after winning the 2008 Scam Cup about how many people had ridden her off and she was looking to prove her naysayers wrong. Al commented, "I wonder who ever would've remarked anything badly about Nastia Liukin." HAHAHA You know that comment from Liukin was directed right at you, Al, just admit it.

Other Notes

  • The BBC and Australian commentators are far superior in my opinion; they don't build the drama to the point where it overshadows the actual gymnastics being done. I particularly like Mitch Fenner and Christine Still from BBC. They go in detail on gymnastics technique and explain why a skill goes right or wrong. They are biased for the Europeans, however, but still should provide great commentary of these Olympics which should eventually be found on Youtube.

  • NBC better be armed with some good fluff pieces at these Games. I will hardly be able to stand the Anything but Fab 3, but I will be able to watch if fluff saves the day.

  • Live commentary of team finals and AA finals for both the men and women will be interesting. Hopefully in AA finals NBC will consistently show us the top two groups of gymnasts, the women's side in particular should be a deep one in that event.

  • If all else fails NBC better show us all eight competitors in each event final. This could actually come close to happening with NBC likely showing the majority of lesser viewed events online.

Next Post: 2008 U.S. Nationals preview-women

That is all.


Young said...

Does Al Trautwig have any 'career highlights' ?

Bleh said...

"Does Al Trautwig have any 'career highlights' ?"


Anonymous said...

you are right on about the commentators. they are so overdramatic and biased. Sometimes i would like to learn about gymnastics vs. their "dramatic" gymnastics.
I've listened to Australian and English commmenators and they are way better. I actually learned about why a skill went wrong and can now even identify some skills ;-)

Audrey said...

Hahahahahaha, you're posts ROCK.

You know, I actually LIKE Tim Daggett. I seem to be in the minority about the subject. But I LOVE how excited he gets about certain skills and whatnot. He made gymnastics exciting for me when I first started becoming a fan.

I wrote him a letter actually. I was asking him for info on some stuff back in the day. Yes, I AM a huge dork. :)

Bekalynn said...

I think Tim is the best of the three. He was quite solicitious of the Romanians when they won and heaped Lilia with praise too.. I think he's willing to give Kudos when Kudos should be given, and I can see him going nutz over He Kexin's bars.

Al is just well. I was listening to him in mens' prelims, and well you would think if your going to commentate about a sport, you should know the sport's judging system... I mean seriously...

Anonymous said...

Do you notice that in every broadcast elfi schlagel makes the comment, "She works this balance beam like she's on the floor"? It drives me crazy! I wish she would think of something new to say :o) Also, I appreciate you pointing out elfi's comment about the russian gymnast with such little talent. That was a little over the line, albeit accurate. Great post!

... said...

Last night's debacle left me dry heaving... Daggett was a prick and an idiot... so much for your comment that he tends to leave politics out...

check this out:

Anonymous said...

Anyone notice how speechless they were AA night? I was rooting for Nastia half because I heart her, and half because I wanted to hear those 3 squirm trying to explain how their "chosen one" is coming second. Bwhaha.